|Over Half of Germany’s Renewable Energy Owned By Citizens & Farmers, Not Utility Companies
Germany’s promotion of renewable energy
rightly gets singled out for its effectiveness, most often by me as an
example of how to do things well versus the fits and starts method of
promotion common in the US. Over at Wind-Works,
Paul Gipe points out another interesting facet of the German renewable
energy saga: 51% of all renewable energy in Germany is owned by
individual citizens or farms, totaling $100 billion worth of private
investment in clean energy.
Breaking that down into solar power and wind power, 50% of Germany’s
solar PV is owned by individuals and farms, while 54% of its wind power
is held by the same groups.
In total there’s roughly 17 GW of solar PV installed in
Germany—versus roughly 3.6 GW in the US (based on SEIA’s figures for new
installations though the third quarter of 2011 plus the 2.6 GW
installed going into the year).
Remember, Germany now produces slightly over 20% of all its electricity from renewable sources.
The thing that got me though, other than the huge lead in solar PV
installations Germany has over the US, thanks to good policy, and the
fact that so much wind power isn’t owned by utilities, is what slightly
over half of renewable energy being owned not by corporations but by
actual biological people means—obviously a democratic shift in control
of resources and a break from the way electricity and energy has been
produced over the past century.
A good thing: Decentralized power generation, more relocalization and
reregionalization of economic activity, the world getting smaller while
more connected and therefore in a way bigger at the same time… taking a
step backwards, and perhaps sideways, while moving forwards.
by Mathew McDermott
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